The Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi has claimed that the oil-rich state is under siege over the recent crisis that transpired in the state.
Amaechi spoke while receiving the Senate Committee on State and Local Government Administration investigating the crisis in the state on Thursday, lamenting that the state and its functionaries were now under siege.
Describing the series of protest that rocked the state on Wednesday, the Governor said “yesterday, they were shooting tear gas into Government House. When we were meeting with the Deputy Inspector-General (DIG) today, the Police claimed that it was inadvertent, that they shot tear gas into Government House. So, I asked one question, supposing, it was live bullet and it hit me, they said, ‘No, governor was not outside,’ but I said, I was outside, you can check.”
Also expressing shock at the sudden withdrawal of soldiers and Amoured Personnel Carrier (APC) attached to Government House, the Governor alleged that commanders of security formations in the state have in the past two months not met with him on account of political pressures.
“We are under siege here. For two months now, we have not met with security men. Security commanders in the state don’t come to me any longer. They are either scared or they don’t deliberately want to see me.”
“They withdrew soldiers attached to me yesterday (Wednesday) and this morning, they withdrew the APC attached to Government House” he said.
Chairman of the Senate Committee, Kabiru Gaya, said the committee was mandated by the Senate to find a solution to the problem in the state.
“Your Excellency, yesterday, July 10, 2013, the Senate had a meeting or session where a motion was raised by Senator Magnus Abe on the situation in Rivers State. The motion was discussed. We had two hours in the closed-door session to discuss how best to sustain our stable democracy, how best we could have the legislators perform their functions without undue interference”, Senator Gaya said.
“I will also say the state was under the situation of violence, and there were disturbances in Rivers State. Therefore, this committee was mandated by the Senate to come and investigate, and also invite other members, including stakeholders. After this courtesy visit, we have to discuss with you (Amaechi) to know what happened from your side. We also need to talk with the Assembly members on both sides, including the Commissioner of Police, the DSS and the JTF. We have already asked the Commissioner of Police to meet us this evening and DSS” he added.
Meanwhile the Army high on Thursday command denied withdrawing troops from Government House, affirming that the troops pulled out were not a component of the security infrastructure of the Government House.